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Welcome. It looks like you picked up a pre war Police Positive Special that has been rebarrelled with a post war Detective Special barrel. Did the seller tell you it was all original? You might have a bone to pick with him.
 

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Yes...this appears to be a Post War Barrel fitted to a pre-War Police Positive Special.

It is possible that it is a post-War Barrel fitted to a pre-War Detective Special, but, that is much less likely.

Also appears to have been re-finished.


Sellers are often confused or mistaken when offering such Revolvers as 'Detective Specials' literally, so one has to be on the look-out for details which will aid in determining whether the Revolver has been re-barrelled from a more conventional Police Positive, or cut-down from a longer Barrel, etc.

But regardless, it is a good looking old Colt Snubby, and will be a joy to carry and take to the Range now and then!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
No doubt its been refinished. But how do you know its a PP-special with a DS barrel? What are the tell-tale signs? I know that the DS had a square butte like the PP-special up until around 1933 (?), so that doesn't necessarily mean its a PP-special frame. Just curious.
 

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No doubt its been refinished. But how do you know its a PP-special with a DS barrel? What are the tell-tale signs? I know that the DS had a square butte like the PP-special up until around 1933 (?), so that doesn't necessarily mean its a PP-special frame. Just curious.
I'm going with the fact the barrel has its markings still but the colt horse is gone. To me that makes it a plain rebarrelled gun.
 

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No doubt its been refinished. But how do you know its a PP-special with a DS barrel? What are the tell-tale signs? I know that the DS had a square butte like the PP-special up until around 1933 (?), so that doesn't necessarily mean its a PP-special frame. Just curious.
The front sight should be a half moon shape to be prewar. The flat at back is the givaway.
 

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No doubt its been refinished. But how do you know its a PP-special with a DS barrel? What are the tell-tale signs? I know that the DS had a square butte like the PP-special up until around 1933 (?), so that doesn't necessarily mean its a PP-special frame. Just curious.
From looking at the gun the only thing we can tell is that it is a pre-war gun with a post-war barrel. That means that the gun has re-barreled at some point. Colt did not begin marking Detective Special barrels in manner yours is marked until after WWll. A pre-war barrel would have completely different markings. In addition, the barrel on the gun has the blade type sight which was not produced until 1963. So the barrel dates from some time after that (1963).

Since the Police Positive Special and Detective Special shared the same frame size and serial number range, there is no way of knowing by simply looking as to whether or not the gun was originally a PPS or a DS. A Colt archive leter would tell what confuiguration the gun was shipped in. My guess would be it was a PPS since there would be no reason to replace an original short barrel with a later short barrel unless there were some damage to the gun.

Hope this helps! :D
 

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I agree with the other gentlemen. Rebarreled PPS. The semi-ramped front sight is a post war feature, but the checkered hammer, trigger and cylinder release are pre-war features, but prewar guns had the half moon front sight. Refinished, too, as there is no Rampant Colt on the left side of the frame.

Nice piece. Should be a good shooter.

Thanks for showing.
 

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I saw gtk10583's post today right after lunch. I've been giving input on so many rebarreled and refinished guns lately I didn't have the heart! I knew some other reliable members would come along and give our new member the information he deserved.
I will say though, the stocks are in amazing condition!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all the replies. My enthusiasm has been deflated. But I will still cary this piece with pride, knowing that it will faithfully protect me in time of need!
 

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I'm very sorry this gun didn't meet your expectations and hopes :(
Please feel free to consult this forum before you buy another oldie. We won't steer you wrong.
I think it's still a very nice carry Colt snubby, and I hope you get many years of enjoyment from it.

It amazes me how many old Police Positives and Police Positive Specials we see that have been rebarreled with 2" Detective Special barrels from different eras. Decades ago it was cheaper to send the guns back to Colt (no federal shipping regulations) to get it rebarreled, or to have a local gunsmith skilled in Colts order a snubby barrel and install it. As somebody mentioned, we believe the vast majority of these were never intended to be fakes of Detective Specials. Some folks just wanted snubbys and it was a lot cheaper to buy the snubby barrel and pay for the installation than to buy a brand spanking new Detective Special.
 

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Thanks for all the replies. My enthusiasm has been deflated. But I will still cary this piece with pride, knowing that it will faithfully protect me in time of need!
No deflation necessary. Most geezers like me have learned the hard way - wrong barrel, wrong stocks, etc. ad nauseum. Probably the best advice I got was to buy a Colt book before you buy a Colt - everytime; until you are comfortable with what is original.
 

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My 2 cents worth:

As has been noted, probably a re-finish, based on the absence of the Colt on the sideplate

The stocks are amazing, as noted, but are post WWII, based on the style of medallions and the screw bushings

As has been noted, the barrel is post 1963, based on the front sight style

Now, was it originally a Police Positive Special or a Detective Special?

The length of the ejector rod is consistent with a pre-war Detective Special rod. If it was a Police Positive Special ejector rod, the tip would be about even with the end of the Detective Special barrel.

So, this is either a revolver that was originally a Detective Special, or the person who re-barrelled a Police Positive Special made an unusual extra effort of shortening and re-threading the ejector rod for the tip to be replaced and appear to have the correct pre-war "Detective Special" look.

Only a Colt's letter will definately tell, one way or another, what it was when it was shipped.
 

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don't be too hard on yourself! it is still a cool little snubby! i like it!
ed

for what it's worth, a real live square-butt detective is becoming pretty rare. i probably couldn't spend much on one without a letter documenting its originality.

welcome to the forum, right here is the best place to study up, and be prepared for the next deal!!!
 

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It's a part of history just like it is. It has a story to tell; we just don't know yet what the story is. A letter may tell at least part of the story. If the work was done by a local smith, we may never know the full saga. The upside to a Colt that's already seen its share of mutation is that you can carry and shoot it with gusto. Enjoy!
 

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What ever it is, I like it!!I'd carry that with pride!!!
 
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